Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
20-December-2011 18:50 IST
PM’s Remarks at the Professor Hiren Mukerjee Lecture
Following are the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s remarks at the Professor Hiren Mukerjee Lecture in New Delhi today:

“I am delighted that Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley is delivering the fourth Prof. Hiren Mukerjee Memorial Parliamentary Lecture this year. He is the first democratically elected Prime Minister of perhaps the world’s youngest democracy. He is also an alumnus of Delhi University. Most importantly, he is a great friend of India and has many admirers in our country. He is an eloquent parliamentarian.

No one would have been happier to see the dawn of democracy rise in our neighbourhood than Professor Hiren Mukerjee. He spent long years in these hallowed environs fighting for democratic values, speaking for the people and upholding the stature of Parliament.

Since the Parliamentary elections in Bhutan in 2008, Prime Minister Thinley has worked to fulfill the solemn mandate of his people with great distinction. Bhutan is also fortunate to have the benevolent and wise guidance of Their Majesties the Kings of Bhutan at a time of profound change in the country. The people of India rejoice at Bhutan’s success as it moves ahead on the path of greater progress, happiness and prosperity.

I have had the pleasure of working closely with Prime Minister Thinley. I recall how ably he guided the SAARC Summit in Thimpu last year, which had the theme ‘A Green and Happy South Asia’. We signed a landmark Thimpu Declaration on Climate Change and a convention on cooperation in environment that have added new and important dimensions to processes of regional cooperation in South Asia.

Prime Minister Thinley is a passionate believer and eloquent advocate of Bhutan’s seminal notion of Gross National Happiness. This concept was first articulated in 1972 by His Majesty the Fourth King, but Prime Minister Thinley has given practical meaning to it in the functioning of his government and restructuring of Bhutan’s society. The power of this idea today finds increasing acceptance and I believe that we have a lot to learn from it. I look forward to listening to Prime Minister Thinley’s exposition on this theme.

Prime Minister Thinley’s presence at this important event is of great significance because India and Bhutan are the closest of friends and neighbours. It is a relationship based on strong bonds of amity, affection, trust and mutual benefit, and one that the people of India deeply cherish.

My discussions with Prime Minister Thinley on different occasions give me great hope and confidence that our two democracies working together are poised to forge an even stronger partnership that will bring added prosperity to our people, promote our common security and strengthen our ancient ties of friendship.

I once again extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Thinley.”

* * *